Series of attacks on, near campus; 7 arrested

Scott Gordon

>Evanston and University Police officers arrested a total of seven juveniles Sunday night in the investigation of five robberies and a related battery that may have involved the same group of Evanston teenagers, police said.

Between 10:30 p.m. and 11:20 p.m. Sunday, several victims were attacked or robbed by groups of six to 10 black teenage males on or near campus, said Cmdr. Joe Bellino of Evanston Police Department. At 10:30, several offenders approached two Northwestern students in the CTA parking lot at the corner of Foster Street and Maple Avenue. One offender punched one of the students, and then the others pushed the student to the ground and began demanding money while kicking and punching him. This victim gave the assailants his wallet and cell phone, Bellino said.

Police apprehended five juveniles in connection with the incident, Bellino said. No charges have been filed against these juveniles yet.

Also at about 10:30 p.m., a Chicago man was in his car on the 1700 block of Benson Avenue when a subject approached and punched him through the open car window. The driver was about to get out of the car to confront the attacker, but saw six more teenage subjects approaching and drove away.

About 10 minutes after 11 p.m., a group of offenders with similar descriptions perpetrated two attacks on campus and one near campus, Bellino said.

Two offenders approached an NU employee outside North Mid Quads Hall at 11:02 p.m., hit him in the face, knocked him to the ground and tried to take his wallet. The victim resisted and held on to his wallet, though the attackers stole two $1 bills from his pocket before leaving.

At 11:05 p.m., a man and three friends were walking on University Place toward Sheridan Road and saw several subjects in the area with similar descriptions to offenders in the previous incidents. Two of the subjects approached the man from behind and began beating him. He dropped his cell phone and one of the attackers took it, Bellino said. A witness called University Police. UP officers arriving at the scene saw several people running from the area and chased and caught two of them, both juveniles.

Another witness, an Indiana woman, was trying to call 911 from her cell phone when one of the offenders saw her, chased her, then shoved her to the ground and stole her phone, Bellino said.

At about 11:10 p.m., a man was standing outside talking on his cell phone on the 1100 block of Garnett Place and saw a group of eight to 10 male teenagers standing across the street from him. Three of this group approached him, and one asked if he could use the man’s phone. Before the victim could reply, the second subject hit him and the third started pushing him, Bellino said. The victim dropped his phone, and one of the offenders picked it up.

UP and EPD are continuing to investigate the incidents “collectively,” Bellino said. All the crimes may have been committed by the same group, but Bellino said investigators cannot yet confirm this.

City Editor Scott Gordon is a Medill junior. He can be reached at [email protected]